Backup Generator

How it Works

Home backup generators provide the power you need when utility power is lost. There are both stationary and portable generators available. Smaller generators tend to use gasoline or propane for fuel and are generally equipped with outlets to power various electrical items. They can also be connected to the electrical service of a home through a transfer switch or interlock kit. Stationary generators are larger units that are fueled by propane, natural gas, or gasoline. These heavy-duty generators are permanently wired into a home’s electrical system and may be equipped with a detached fuel tank.

What can Go Wrong?

Backup generators sometimes suffer engine damage from poor fuel quality, low coolant or low oil level. An improper electrical connection or overloading of the unit can also damage the generator. Stationary units can also experience wiring or component damage from small animals and rodents nesting. Rain, dirt, or brush entering the weathertight enclosure can cause mechanical and electrical issues with stationary generators.

Size and Carbon Footprint

Generators are rated in watts or kilowatts which represent the amount of electrical power they deliver. One kilowatt (kW) = 1,000 watts (W). Portable units that are used to supply a limited number of household loads in an emergency are typically rated at 5,000 W or less. Stationary units, which are intended to power the whole house for extended periods, are often rated at 10,000 W or more. For each gallon of gasoline burned in the generator, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) are produced.

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